Lingthusiasm Episode 13: What Does it Mean to Sound Black? Intonation and Identity Interview with Nicole Holliday
If you grow up with multiple accents to choose from, what does the one you choose say about your identity? How can linguistics unpick our hidden assumptions about what “sounds angry” or “sounds articulate”? What can we learn from studying the melodies of speech, in addition to the words and sounds?
In Episode 13 of Lingthusiasm, your host Gretchen McCulloch interviews Dr. Nicole Holliday, an Assistant Professor of linguistics at Pomona College about her work on the speech of American black/biracial young men, prosody and intonation, and what it means to sound black. We also talk about how Obama inadvertently provided her research topic, the linguistics of the Wu Tang Clan, and how linguistics can make the world a better place. Links to topics mentioned in this episode below.
This month’s bonus episode is a recording of our liveshow about discourse markers in Montreal in September. What do “um” and “like” have in common with “behold” and “nevertheless”? They’re all discourse markers! These little words and phrases get a bad rap for being “meaningless”, but they’re actually really important. Find out how, and picture yourself sitting among real, live lingthusiasts in the excellent linguistics section at Argo Bookshop, by listening to the recording! You can get access to it and previous bonuses about language games, hypercorrection, swearing, teaching yourself linguistics, and more by supporting Lingthusiasm on Patreon.
We’re excited to bring you our first interview episode right before our very special 1-year anniversary episode in November! To celebrate a whole year of enthusiastic linguistics podcasting, we’re aiming to hit another milestone at the same time: 100,000 listens across all episodes. We’re currently at 83k as of right before posting this episode, so it’s totally doable, but we need your help to get there! Here are some ways you can help:
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Here are the links mentioned in this episode:
- Professor Nicole Holliday’s academic webpage
- Nicole Holliday on Twitter (@mixedlinguist)
- Interview with Nicole Holliday and Paul Reed about their LSA Institute class on intonation and social identity
- Key and Peele Obama fistbump sketch and phone call sketch (videos only work in US)
- 5 Key & Peele sketches that do work outside the US
- People freaking out at Barack Obama’s fistbump in 2008
- Sandra Bland: Talking While Black (Language Log)
- Language and Linguistics on Trial: Hearing Vernacular Speakers in Courtrooms and Beyond - John Rickford plenary address at the LSA about his paper with Sharese King (video)
- Rickford and King 2016 (press release from LSA)
- John R. Rickford and Sharese King win 2016 LSA Best Paper prize
- The Oxford Handbook of African American Language
- African American English blog
- More about intonation and prosody
- Watch Your Language trailer (YouTube)
- Gricean Maxims as demonstrated by the Wu Tang Clan, on Nerdist Alpha (behind paywall, but currently offering 30 day free trial)
- Lingthusiasm Episode 11: Layers of meaning - Cooperation, humour, and Gricean Maxims
- The LSA Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics (CEDL) which provides travel grants every year to help students get to the annual meeting - applications open until Oct 31st!
You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, iTunes, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on lingthusiasm.com.
You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.
Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our audio producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Emily Gref and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles. Interview with Nicole Holiday recorded on July 27; the rest recorded on September 28 2017.
I’m so excited to bring you our very first Lingthusiasm interview with Nicole Holliday, whose fantastic Intonation and Social Identity class I got to sit in on at Lingstitute this summer. (Definitely also check out this interview about the class.)